KANNAKI TEMPLES IN KERALA
1.Devi Temple of Chenganoor
The Devi Temple at Chenganoor is one of the oldest Mahakshethrams (Big temples) of Kerala. Out of the 63 famous Saiva Nayanars only two were Keralites-One was Cheraman Perumal ,Ruler of Kerala and the other wasViralminda Nayanar, Custodian of Chenganoor temple. Both lived in first half of 9th century and were contemporaries of Sundera Moorthy Nayanar. For centuries Chengannoor temple is described as "Nayanar Thiruchenkuntoor Kovil".In the famous Dravida Kavyam "Periya puranam"(Thiruthondarpuranam of AD. 1145) PoetSekkizhar describes Viraminda Nayanar,a Vellala Chiefton, and his temple at Chenganoor. Nayanar lived in "Mathilakathayyathu" in Angadickal in Chenganoor Vadakkekara (Vadakkumkara Mahadevaru Pattanathil).The Chera Rajas and Viraminda Nayanar donated lots of land to Chenganoor temple as per the "Chenganoor Grandhavary".
But during the last years of 9th Century AD the dissidents of Nayanar had to leave Chenganoor to Ranni. There at Pullapram the Nayanar of that period build four houses-Kurikkattor , Panampilackal ,Kaniyamplakal and Kannamkara and and also build the "Saleeswaram" Siva temple.
The Vaishnava Alwars descrbed the six famous temples around Chenganoor. They were Thirchittattinkara ,Thiruppuliyoor ,Thiruvanvandoor , thiruvaranmula, Thiruvilla and Thrikkodithanam. Chenganoor temple had Utsavam for 29 days,in olden days, adapted from the 29 day " Indrotsav" of Kaverpoompattanam This shows the Tamilian connection of Chenganoor temple
Even though there are Idols of Siva (Kizhakkenada) and Parvathy (Padinjarenada) in Chenganoor temple more importance is for Devi, " ChenkamalaVally". Kannaki ,the heroine of Tamil Classic "Chilappathykaram"after destroying Mathurapuri reached Chenkuntoor hill and staged thapasya there. After her elivation to heaven the Chera King constructed a temple there. Devotees believe that Kannaki was the human incarnation of Parvathy and they worship her.
Years back Chenganoor temple was involved in a fire. To prevent future fires the temple was rebuilt with stones. For this four families of silpies were brought from Tamilnadu. Their dissidents are still seen in Puthenveettil Thattavilayil. They are expert sculptures.
The peculiarity of Chenganoor Devi is that she has monthly periods like any other woman .This occurs every month. Stains appear on the Tamilian dress of Devi. The appearance is called
"Thirupooppu"and the festival on that day is called "Thiruppotharattu". Col.Munro Divan of Travancore ridiculed the "menstrual periods"of Devi and cut short the expenses. Immediately following the decision , his wife had profuse bleeding. From the "prasnam" it was proved that Devi had displeasure. Records show that Col.Munro increased the allowances after this incidence (AD.987) and donated Chenganoor Devi one gold ring with his name etched.
Ref: "Thiru Chenganoor Kshethra Mahatmyam"
Kaloor Narayana Pillai Ex.MLC 1st Edn. ME 1111